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Introduction to CA

What is CA?

Complete Annihilation is an RTS game for the Spring engine. It traces its heritage to Total Annihilation (often referred to as Original Total Annihilation or OTA), a 1997 PC RTS by Cavedog Entertainment. However, CA is not OTA. It is gradually moving away from OTA, replacing the copyrighted models and textures with open-source ones while refining and improving the gameplay. CA aims to be a dynamic, action-packed, hassle-free game, full of clever strategies and constantly moving combat.

CA features

How does CA differ from mods like Balanced Annihilation, NOTA and XTA?

  • Diverse and unique unit roles. Most combat units can be categorized into one of several unit classes, which carry out different tasks and perform differently. However, units within a class have significant differences that control the way they behave and how they are best used. Optimal combination of these various classes is key to victory. Consult the UnitGuide for information on classes.
    • No single unit spam. All units have strengths and weaknesses. If a player spams a single unit, his opponent can exploit its vulnerability and counter it, so to get anything done you'll want to mix different units together.
    • Unique factions. Both factions are truly and genuinely unique. They each have their own set of special abilities exclusive to the faction, which while behaving quite differently, allow the same degrees of tactical flexibility. Where there are units that are otherwise equivalent between the factions, care has been taken to ensure there are important differences and that factional choice remains meaningful.
  • Flat balancing. All factories and structures can be built at any time with no prerequisites, barring the commanders more limited build menu and the difference between land and sea constructors. Units are balanced accordingly, so that everything is of roughly equal cost-effectiveness- all units stay viable over the entire course of the game, depending on the situation, map, and player choice, rather than dictated by tiers. This means there is no "teching up" just for better, more cost-efficient units, but rather because you require a unit for a specific application.
    • Equal fac costing. Because of flat balancing, "T2" factories are not vastly more expensive than "T1" ones. You can start T2 (and in some cases, even T3), although this is highly situational and not recommended for beginners.
  • Streamlined economy. All units cost exactly the same ratios of metal to energy and buildpower. This means that constructors and factories will always drain a constant amount of resources regardless of what is being built, be it a nuke silo or a jeffy. This is in contrast to the erratic, unpredictable ratios of most other mods.
    • Overdrive. There are no more metal makers or moho mexes in CA. Instead, feeding a metal extractor with energy causes it to produce more metal (overdrive). The more energy you ovedrive a mex with, the less efficient it becomes, so you always want more mexes to ensure your mexes run efficiently. This keeps metal income tied to territorial acquisition while making the investment (the energy structures powering your overdrive) centralized in your base, and makes the economy ramp up more smoothly over time.
    • Scrapping and reverse building. Due to its inconsistent behavior, the conventional method of reclaiming live units has been removed. Instead, each unit has a scrap button that dismantles it into the unit's wreck (with no explosion), allowing you to reclaim it instantly. You can also reverse build live friendly units, which converts the unit into its nanoframe for reclaiming.
    • No free storage. Aside from the initial 1000 (default) storage, you're not going to get any more unless you make storage buildings. This provides an additional economic target, and makes storage structures worthwhile.
  • Minimal special damages. There are no hidden bonuses like LLTs doing double damage to commanders. Any given weapon can be expected to do the same damage to everything it can fire at (yes, even planes).
  • Tourney Rules. Commanders cannot d-gun each other, and the commander blast isn't instant death. As a result, depending its your HP and how far away it is, a commander can survive another commander dying. Additionally, the d-gun costs 300E (equivalent to 3000E in BA), so you must be judicious with its use. This is a hard-coding of the rules that tourneys from OTA to AA to BA have always been played with- you can kill a commander using your laser and win (and in CA, actually survive) but not your d-gun.
    • Or skip the commanders entirely. You can choose to play with the Commander Jr., which has no combat ability, cloak, or nuclear death; or the Constructor Start mode, where you start with a batch of con units instead of a commander. See Commander Types.
  • Full use of the features of the Spring Engine. CA uses as much of the Spring engine as possible, including terrain deformation (cratering) on all weapons, a large range of uniquely different weapon types and many Lua enhancements such as terraforming, jumpjets, cloaking fields and much, much more.
  • Advanced management and strategic features. In CA, the player's fight is with the enemy, not the GUI. Widgets such as the Transport AI make it easier to set up air transportation for your units, automatically set certain units to Hold Position or Hold Fire, and allow damaged units to automatically retreat to a safe zone. Various other widgets feed valuable battlefield information to you, regarding such things as factory status, unit group condition, and enemy defense ranges. These are all designed to give as many tools and as much power as possible to you as a battlefield commander.
  • Improved graphics and models. This is probably the first thing you've noticed. The graphics aren't just prettier, though - they also communicate information to the player more effectively. The iconset allows you to verify the state of the battlefield quickly and effectively from an overhead view, while weapon effects and the like are carefully set up to indicate information such as weapon damage in a meaningful and intuitive way.

To learn more about all these features, consult the Manual.

Promotional Material More Screenshots


Why is it called CA if it wants to depart from OTA?
CA was the original name of the project, but we are looking at renaming it.

You guys update too often!
Play the stable version - barring unusual circumstances such as a serious bug slipping through, we pretty much never release stable versions more than once a week. SpringDownloader makes it trivially easy and fast to update your copy of CA anyway. Our fast development system allows for rapid fixing of bugs and introduction of new features.

Why was unit X removed?
Usually this is because its role overlaps excessively with that of another unit. Especially with flat balancing, making every unit distinct from others in the same role class is particularly important. Units can also be removed if they are too similar to a comparable unit of the opposite faction, although this is more commonly solved by modifying one or both units.

Of course, sometimes a unit is taken out because the very concept is so horribly broken that we have to burn it to ashes and deny the fact that it ever existed.

I have a bug report/feature request, what do I do?
The best way to report bugs is often to make a ticket. A developer will review the ticket, and if deemed appropriate will take the necessary steps to resolve the issue. You can also contact us in our channel or post in the discussion forum.

I'd like to help CA out; how can I do so?
We appreciate any help. In particular, you can help us in the following ways:

  • Contribute models and/or (more importantly) textures. Artwork is a rare commodity, and we are always looking for talent. Simply make a model and show it to us, and if we like it we may find a home for it. You can also improve existing models.
  • Write some code. While we have plenty of coders, more are always welcome. In particular, we are looking for those who can code in C++ (Spring engine), C# (CA development tools) and Lua (CA interface widgets and gameplay gadgets).
  • Advertise. Tell a friend, introduce people to Spring and CA. The community is always looking to expand the player base.
  • Play!

to be expanded

some other stuff

Legal Information

Currently, CA contains (and links to) content from the game Total Annihilation which is Copyright © 1997 Humongous. The current copyright is believed to be in the hands of Atari Interactive, which in turned is owned by Infogrames Entertainment SA. However, Atari has reputedly denied owning the Total Annihilation IP. As such, the legal status of CA and other *A mods is unclear. The Spring development team has recommended that players of *A mods possess a copy of the original Total Annihilation, in order to reduce the risk of legal complications.

CA uses artwork (models, textures) donated from various sources under open-source licenses, particularly the GNU GPL and the various Creative Commons licenses. These may be copied and edited and used in derivative works according to the terms of their respective licenses. CA also uses Public Domain (PD) material.

The main project and all Lua code contained within is released under the terms of the GNU General Public License.